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UM Study Finds First Responders Have Mixed Feelings About COVID Vaccine

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It's becoming more clear that as millions eagerly wait their turn to get vaccinated, millions more have no interest – at least not now. And a new study has found that there are plenty of skeptical first responders.

Firefighters and emergency medical services workers are at high risk of exposure to COVID almost every day.

They can also pose an additional risk of transmitting the virus to others.

"There is a little bit of a COVID-19 fatigue. As a physician and public health person, I'm always asking what can we do to protect them. Many of them say, 'Well, I am going to get it anyways.' And that is where the question came as to will they get the vaccine then," said Dr. Alberto Caban-Martinez.

Dr. Caban-Martinez is a lead researcher at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

He said little was known about the perceptions of the COVID-19 vaccine among first responders, which is why they decided to conduct a national research study.

Just over 3,000 first responders participated in the survey.

A little more than 48.2% said they would take the vaccine, while 24.2% were unsure and 27.5% reported low acceptability of the vaccine.

Dr. Caban-Martinez showed CBS4's Jessica Vallejo a map that separated the states into geographic regions of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Florida fell in the group where 43.1% said they would not accept the vaccine.

But the purpose of the study, Dr. Caban-Martinez said, was to educate and inform first responders about receiving a COVID vaccination.

"Sure, you can have extra PPE on, but a vaccine is just an extra shield," he said.

The online survey was completed back in October.

With the new variants in the United States now, Dr. Caban-Martinez said another study will be done very soon.


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